When the women’s basketball team opens its season at the Vermont Tip-Off Tournament Nov. 22, the Elis will take the court for the first time in four years without Helene Schutrumpf ’03.

Sunday night, Schutrumpf said she has left the team.

Schutrumpf, a 5-foot-9-inch small forward, started 25 of 27 games last year and led the Bulldogs in scoring with 10.7 points per game. She was also the team leader in steals and second in assists.

Maria Smear ’03, the team’s captain, said the coaching staff took Schutrumpf’s departure hard.

“It’s rough,” Smear said. “The coaches definitely didn’t see it coming, and they were pretty upset by it.”

Head coach Amy Backus could not be reached for comment Sunday night.

Smear missed last season with a stress fracture and led the Bulldogs in scoring as a sophomore.

Schutrumpf, Smear and forward Bonnie Smith ’04 were all on the ballot last spring for team captain. Smear won on the third vote after a drawn-out election process.

Yale traditionally only has a single basketball captain.

Smear, a 5-foot-11-inch guard, said the loss would be difficult to absorb but predicted success nonetheless.

“Obviously, we would have liked to have her, but we have a lot of younger players who are good and just didn’t get the chance to play last year,” Smear said. “It won’t hurt us as much as one might think.”

Smear becomes the team’s sole senior. But the team returns a solid core of six juniors.

Correction: Oct. 29, 2002

Because of an editing error, Helene Schutrumpf’s ’03 reasons for leaving the women’s basketball team were left out of Monday’s article, “Women’s basketball star Schutrumpf quits team.” Schutrumpf said she left the team because she no longer enjoyed being a member of it, and that it was a difficult decision to make.